24HRS WITH... 'COLITIS COP' - CUSTODY SERGEANT ED ROWLAND
24 hours with... Ed Rowland, Custody Sergeant, living
& working with an Ileostomy
Date: A Thursday in July
Why have you chosen to write about today?It’s random and
combines both my personal and work life.
What time did you
7am - I was on lates last night so late to bed, my wife, Kate, who is
also in the Police is on earlies, so she wakes me before she leaves so I can
look after our 2yr old, Maggie....daddy daughter days are some of the best days
Did you have a
I have no idea, I was definitely in a deep sleep when I was woken.
Do you think today
will be 'good' or 'bad' day? (use your own definition of these words to answer
It will be a good day, I get to play and act like a child, however,
nights shift tonight maybe a struggle!!
What are the first
three things you do after waking up?
1.Empty my bag, I generally wake up to
a bag full of either poo or air, or both...it’s like having a balloon attached
to my tummy!! But it’s a quick empty before any poosplossion can happen! (So
far in nearly two years with an ostomy this hasn’t happened thankfully.)
2.Chuck on some clothes and say good
morning to the Kate and Maggie and seeing her off to work.
3.A quick 10 minutes of basic exercise
or stretches, such as squats, press-ups or Pilates to help wake me up.
Note: Before my operation I
suffered for ten years with Ulcerative Colitis. Some of the side effects that
effected me the most being extreme fatigue, pain and taking me a good few hours
before I could leave the house. I would be on the toilet for the first 2-3hrs
every morning. With this now gone, I have more energy than I ever had.
Do you eat
breakfast? If yes, what did you have?
I usually have breakfast after a couple of hours being up, usually
scrambled eggs on toast, sometimes with a bit of salmon, Parma ham or avocado
on top as a treat.
What would be your
Depends on what mood I’m in, I’ve definitely turned into a bit of a
foodie since my op, before I was very limited as to what I could eat. It would
either set off a flare of UC, or make me get anxious about eating as I know I
will inevitably need the toilet a short time after eating, something which could
cripple me for the rest of the day, especially if there was any hint of
Is there anything
that you have to do today but don't particularly want to?
A bag change - it’s more of a laziness thing. Today is a bag change day,
I usually change it in the morning before breakfast as my Stoma is less active,
but it’s difficult to try and do this whilst I have Maggie to look after. It
will therefore be an evening change which is a little more challenging. I would
just leave it, but it’s already been on a day longer than normal and it’s does
feel much more comfy having a fresh bag on.
List five things
that you do between 9am and noon.
1.Maggie and I take the family dog,
Brian for a walk.
2.Maggie and I go to a trampoline park
in the city and do lots of bouncing. I wear my support vest from @vanillablush
to support my peristomal hernia and bag....I get quite warm! Again, before my
operation this would have been impossible, I would have been constantly looking
for the nearest toilet, thinking I needed the loo and having to dash off. This
would then bring on the stomach cramps and pain. All it would take is that one
little thought in my head, ‘what if u need a poo now...’ and that would be
enough to set me off for the rest of the day.
3.Pizza Hut for a lunchtime treat, it’s
just down the road from the trampoline place and Maggie enjoys their Spag Bol.
4.Drive home during which Maggie will
have fallen asleep in the car, especially if I have gone the long way back.
She’s then carried in and popped into bed with ninja like moves, whilst trying
to stop the dog from licking her and waking her up.
5.I should be tidying up, but I sit and
watch the tele for an hour. Il do the tidying later.
Did you eat lunch?
If yes, what did you eat?
What would be your
Pizza is probably one of my favs.
List five things
that you have done, said, thought, or that have happened between noon and 5pm.
1.Maggie woke up, so we sat and watched
Tangled, (or Rapunzel Tower as Maggie calls it, she actually thinks Tower is
her last name)
2.we’ve then painted and played in the
house all afternoon.
3.We’ve had an afternoon snack, and I
tidy up in between games and activities.
4.I’ve text Kate and checked our plans
for tea, and if I need to make it for when she gets in. I sometimes make this
decision myself and cook an absolutely terrible meal, I occasionally and rarely
pull an amazing meal out of the bag (not that bag) but mostly, Kate, the perfect
wife she is, cooks for us.
5.I realise I’m shattered and the
thought of a night shift ahead of me is a little concerning.
Do you eat
dinner/tea? If yes, at what time?
What do you
So, Kate comes home and cooks us all an amazing seafood pasta. It takes
me longer to eat meals than most, because with a bag I have to make a concerted
effort to be like a train and ‘chew chew chew’. If not, I risk a blockage which
is not pleasant. I’ve had one proper blockage before, I was sick, I couldn’t
move, it was a pain completely different to what I’ve ever felt before. It was
an experience I never want to repeat.
What would be your
Tonight’s dinner was up there. However, a glass of wine was missing -
but works fast approaching.
What do you do with
your evening (5-8pm)?
So, after our tea, Maggie goes to bed. There’s a bit of kick off when it
comes to brushing teeth, but it’s just her delightful way of finding her
boundaries at the moment and discovering what she can and can’t get away with.
She brushes her teeth. I then get to bed for a nap. It doesn’t work, so I’m up,
watching some series on the tele. I then have a shower and change my bag. I’ve
had to quickly get on with it due to my Stoma being quite active. The quicker
it’s done the less likely I’m going to get poo on me! Where most people
start getting ready for bed at this point, I’m heading off for work. It’s just
before 9. It’s a 30mins drive which I quite enjoy, and I get dressed in work.
Getting dressed takes that little longer as I wear my ‘OstomyArmour’ which the
job has purchased for me. Back when I was initially told I couldn’t be front
line after my operation, I found this piece of equipment from the states, developed
by a former Navy Seal. Long story short, the job agreed to pay for it, so I
could get back to full duties. Handover is at 2200hrs. Tonight there’s two of
us Sergeants working and two detention Officers. It’s not great, and the centre
is already fairly busy, but we’ll manage, we always do. Straight after handover
I go around and see my allocated detained people for the night. There’s a
couple I’ve met before, one who’s a little daunted by being in a cell and a
couple of others who have been interviewed and are awaiting a decision with
their case. I then have to return to my office/charge room and update their
records that I have accepted them and am happy they are still being detained
lawfully. This can be quite a lengthy process. Whilst doing this, I get
informed that a decision has been made for the two people. They are both to be
charged. One had a remand application attached to it (he’s alleged to have
breached a restraining order, so will be staying, and taken to court in the
morning) the other is being released under investigation. I therefore prepare
the necessary risk assessments and get him up and released (not as straight
forward and as quick as you may think) and then charge the other in the cell,
informing him that he will be put before the court in the morning. At the same
time, another person is brought in. He’s shouting abuse at the Officers as he
is sat in the holding cell. I book him in and manage to build a bit of a
rapport with him. He’s acting odd though and it’s difficult to ascertain if
this is due to drug or alcohol intoxication, mental health, or an act. We go
through the booking in process and he is taken to the cell. I request an HCP
(health care professional) to see him, however, since being placed in a cell
5mins ago, he has requested to have a book changed that he was given. This was
not done quick enough to his liking, and 30 seconds after requesting the swop,
he has put his current book down the toilet, along with his pillow, and flooded
the cell. He’s then began to urinate on the floor and kick and headbutt the
cell door in anger, becoming extremely violent. My attempts to engage with him
are met with a torrent of abuse. He’s too violent for the HCP to see him and I
decide to monitor him on CCTV as opposed to restraining him. Especially as NHS
advice is to contain as opposed to restrain. It’s a difficult decision to make,
especially knowing that if it’s the wrong one, I will be investigated for a
number of years after the event. He wears himself out and I return to speak
with him. Eventually I persuade him to see the HCP in a clean cell which has
had the water switched off. He does so and settles down. I then spend the next
half hour or so typing this all up. The rest of the night runs through fairly
smoothly. I book a few people in, but there’s no major issues. One thing is
clear, nearly everyone coming in at the moment have all stated they have
anxiety and depression. This is sometimes self-diagnosed, or they are on
medication from the doctor. I’m sure this is a recent thing and since 5years or
so ago, the number of people who I came into contact with at work who identify
as having anxiety and depression has increased substantially. During the
shift I need to let the air out of my bag, night shifts cause bloating for me it’s
uncomfortable, but manageable. The picture is taken before and after a night
shift.It’s 7am and I’m heading home. Kate and Maggie are up already and I come
home to a cheese toastie, which I devour before climbing into bed.
Do you share your
It’s daytime, I get the whole bed to myself, although Brian is asleep at
the foot of the bed.
Which position do
you tend to sleep in? e.g. foetus, starfish etc.
I’m on my side. I can sleep in any position with my bag, but I generally
wake on my back due to the balloon on my tummy!!
What was your
favourite part of your day?
Daddy Daughter time!
What was your least
Watching someone headbutt the cell door, it’s difficult decision to have
to make to monitor them and watch someone do this.
Did anything happen
today that you'd like to change or re-do?
Did you 'learn'
anything today? (use your own definition of this word to answer the
I learnt more about myself. I was asked by colleagues about my decision
to let someone headbutt the cell door, I learnt than I am confident in my
decision making and am good at justifying and rationalising this decision. It
will get criticism, but everyone has the right to do so and make their own
decisions in these circumstances.
Are you looking
forward to tomorrow?
It’ll be asleep for most of the day, then back in work for my last
night shift of the set. I’m more looking forward to my rest days with my
What do you have
I’ll think of something fun for us to do with Maggie
Ed also does a lot of work with the Purple Wings charity and has found support and encouragement from their organization. You can find out more about them here: https://twitter.com/purplewings_ibd For more information on Ed's condition, please see the Crohns and Colitis UK site: https://www.crohnsandcolitis.org.uk/